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2011 Rocks So Far

by Daniel Negreanu |  Published: Jan 21, '11


I'll try to make this brief: life is good. Went to PCA really feeling good about my game after final tabling EPT Vienna, coming 4th, then the 9th in Sydney. The first event of the year was the $100,000 buy in "Super High Roller" and it ended up with 38 players. Pretty impressive number, and we would have had more if team FTP players were allowed to play. I think at least 6 of those guys would have played if their bosses let them.

My first table was stacked with sick young pros. I was by far the oldest at my table, 20, 21, 22, 24, 24, and 26 were the various ages until Matt Glantz joined our table to up the average a bit. I thought I played that table great, while losing one sizable pot to the young phenom known as Viktor "Isildur1" Bloom. It was a weird spot where the board read J-3-4-Q-K. I bet the J-3-4 flop and he called. The turn was a Q and I check called, and the river I checked my AK and he bet pretty big. I made the call and he showed me QJ. No one believed I had the AK because I took so long, but that was one of those spots where I could only beat a bluff.

I ended up coming 2nd in the tournament cashing for exactly $1 million which was one of my goals for 2011. Sweet, knocked that off in the first week! One of my other goals looks good temporarily, and that was to pass Phil Ivey for #1 on the all-time money list. The cash put me over the $14 million mark which puts me a few hundred thousand ahead of Ivey.

The next day I played the main event, and it's funny how one day you can win a million and then the next day you feel like the unluckiest player in the world! I ran ugly and was out early, but you can't win them all.

I also played in the Bounty Shootout and did the best I could, coming 3rd at my table and collecting one bounty, but nothing really went my way there either.

My travel partner from Sydney, Eddy Sabat, who final tabled with me there, also made a deep run in the main event finishing 30th. In Sydney he lost a race with AK, and once again in the main he lost a race with AK. Hey, it's part of the game.

SIDEBAR: It annoys me when players who play the tour for three years and don't do anything chalk it up to "variance." Yeah, has nothing to do with the fact that you suck... you are just unlucky. It's often the young kids who may have had one or two scores, now have a backer, are bitter and miserable, and just don't want to face reality. Either get better, or get a job. A kid like Jason Mercier isn't just "luckier" than you, he works harder on his game than you do and that's why he posts consistent results.

One kid in particular I saw playing the WSOPE main event talking was about "donkaments" and variance, and whatever, and how it's all luck. Well, he was bitter because he's not very good and hadn't had a score in ages. I looked over at Phil Ivey and his eyes were darting back and forth, watching every move, and gathering as much information as possible on his opponents. What was this punk doing? On day two of the main event he had his headphones blaring, barely lifted his head, and was reading a book! If I staked someone and saw them disrespect my money like that I'd cut them off immediately.
/end rant

For the first time in history, ESPN2 aired the final table of the PCA live WITH holecards. I was fortunate enough to see all of the action as I was doing the commentary with James Hartigan who is amazing at what he does and is a pleasure to work with. James is an opinionated guy like me, and the truth is, if I didn't agree with virtually everything he says I'd probably hate him! We do agree on virtually everything, so he's obviously a smart guy and I like him very much :-)

Galen Hall went on to win the event, but not before plenty of fireworks. Hall made an excellent lay down heads up that allowed him to claw his way back to victory. Congrats Galen, outside of two hands the entire final table I think you played flawlessly.

The feedback from the poker community has been overwhelmingly positive and has left people screaming for MORE! MORE! MORE! Well, the people at ESPN as well as the people at PokerStars were extremely happy with the end result and seemed enthusiastic about trying out this format again in the future.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing the commentary and I think it showed. Our energy stayed up during the entire broadcast and I found the whole thing very exciting despite not knowing the participants. Oliver was a treat to watch! He made some very unorthodox plays and held the chip lead most of the way, but there is no shame in losing to Hall. There was some high level play going on at the final table full of young players.

SIDEBAR: The best no limit hold'em players in the world today are mostly young. It's just a fact and if you look at tournament results over the past few years it's trending younger and younger. Why? The younger players are using more advanced tools to break down the game, discussing hands with friends and on forums, and most importantly are putting in more volume than the older generation.

I guess I'm part of the older generation now, but I'm never, ever, going to let the game pass me by and not learn how to improve. I think my game is better than ever today and much of that is due to the fact that I've put in the time to get better. For a while I was caught up with poker activities outside of playing, as well as golf, and life, but POKER is my life and I want to be the best I can be at it. I feel like much of the older generation has just "checked out" and are unwilling to get better. Much of the old guard that became famous during the poker boom are hardly relevant in terms of results at this point.
/end rant

One of my other goals this year was to accumulate over 55,000 vpps this year on PokerStars. I got 55,000 last year, my highest total ever, and I plan on getting to 60,000 this year, and possibly even reach SuperNova status. One of the best ways to do it, I found, was to play the $5600 buy in heads up NLH turbo sit n' gos.
So far this year I've accumulated 15,608.74 vpps and have run really hot in my matches going 17-6 so far playing against the best players on the site.

I've also put in a little time practicing 4-tabling $5-$10 heads up. I have to be honest here, I find it very difficult. My goal is to play 2500 hands, the longest I've played without my brain turning to mush is 1038. 2500 is a key number. As you may have guessed, my plan is to practice at lower stakes in the hopes of being ready to take on Isildur1 in the SuperStar Showdown. I'm nowhere near ready. Hey, like I said, just being honest! As much as I'd like to play him now, I don't think I'd give him much of a match at this point. I'll need to get a couple months of practice in where I get comfortable with the speed of things. So, if you ever want to play me heads up on 4 tables at $5-$10 look for my tweets @RealKidPoker and I'll let you know when I'm looking for action.


During the WSOP I was doing P90X religiously and I was starting to get sexy! I only made it through 9 weeks and since then haven't lifted a thing outside of a veggie burger with fries. Well, I want to get sexy again so I started up again 3 days ago. It's tough to restart, because my mind knows what I am capable of doing, but my body is saying, "Dude, yeah, maybe three months ago you could lift that, how about starting with the girlie weights for a bit." I do feel great though and hope to stick with it. The hardest part for me is travel. Outside of being busy, it's not that easy to follow the diet (with me being a vegan) while I'm on the road. Month one calls for high protein/low carbs, and while home my assistant Patty cooks me the perfect meals everyday, but on the road I'm often stuck.

Oh well, I'm going to just do the best I can and follow the best I can. I feel like doing "something" is better than nothing. Eddy Sabat is coming to EPT Deauville with me and we've promised each other to motivate ourselves to just get the workouts in.

Speaking of EPT Deauville, I finally did my schedule for the next few months and there were some tough choices. For example, you have WPT Biloxi, Aussie Millions, and EPT Deauville all happening at the same time. In terms of pure value, the decision wasn't even close. Online poker is legal in France and is qualifying tons of new French players and the event may have as many as 1000 entries! EPT San Remo has always been considered the juiciest tournament of the year, but I think Deauville might just top that. We'll see. The girls are not coming along on this trip, so it'll be just business. Working out, and playing hard.

Jan 25-31 EPT Deauville
Feb 20-25 TV Filming
Feb 25-Mar 1 WPT LAPC
Mar 3-5 NBC Heads Up
Mar 5-10 NAPT Bike
Mar 12-17 WPT Bay 101
Mar 20-25 EPT SnowFest (50-50 on this one)
Mar 27-30 WSOPC (I forget where lol)
Apr 8-13 NAPT Mohegan Sun
April 21st Patty and Lisa's Wedding (congrats ladies!)
Apr 27-30 WSOPC (I forget where)
May 14-20 WPT Championship

There is also the EPT Grand Final as well as possibly EPT San Remo that I may attend, but the schedule for either has not been released yet. Fingers crossed neither happens on April 21st, I definitely don't want to miss my assistant Patty's "ceremony", wedding, or whatever you call it. Either way I'd hate to miss it.

Outside of the WPT Championship in May I'll be back on the golf course and working out, gearing up for a big run at the WSOP. The WSOP is always an important time of year to have my head on straight, and I'm hoping for a drama less WSOP this year!

(just re-reading the blog and noticed at the top I said "I'll try to make this brief." Oops, fail.)

Daniel Negreanu is the 2004 CardPlayer Magazine and World Poker Tour Player of the Year. He presents his poker strategies in one-on-one virtual training at and writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column.
Read all of Daniel Negreanu's poker blog and poker articles at Full Contact Poker.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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